Apart & Together:
Intermittent Glimpses from Ascension
SHORT Update for Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear People of Ascension,

Yesterday, the suspension of worship and all other gatherings for Episcopal congregations in the Diocese of Washington (DC) was extended through mid-May. I am guessing that we in Chicago may well be following suit. We will likely need to be thinking of this together as a marathon rather than a brief hiatus.

Considering a likely long haul (a few months or more) in present circumstances, I have created a simple 10-question survey about matters that I feel may be of most immediate concern and/or interest to most of us in the larger Ascension family.

I've spent much of yesterday and today trying, with the help of others, to quickly cultivate some new resources to sustain and build our connections to our God, to Ascension and to one another. Few of my efforts have yet to come to fruition, but I will keep trying, and ...

+ This Week at Ascension should go out tomorrow on schedule, with some changes from the norm to comply with present reality (e.g. no Sunday worship schedule ...)

+ Br. Nathanael Rahm completed a member spreadsheet with names and contact information. It's a first step in an effort to identify and follow up with members who live alone and may be particularly at risk .

+ Mary Beth Hwang, Verger, continues to work on technology. In one endeavor, we're hoping to have a webcam up and running in the church 24/7 by the end of the week.

+ Sr. Warden Gary Alexander, past Warden Chris Raymond , and others are working on enabling G-Suite options for online meetings . This option may allow us to also share in leading the Daily Office from wherever we may be.

+ Sunday's live-streamed mass (via Facebook) received a surprising number of views. It seems that all of the effort was worthwhile, and we aim to repeat the effort on coming Sundays as needed and to provide additional online worship resources. (See the survey!)

Many of our usual commitments, routines and deadlines become pointless and we often must climb steep new learning curves during times of upheaval. I gather many of you are feeling this in many or all realms of your lives. Perhaps we can take some solace in remembering others are struggling as we are.

With prayers, gratitude and hope,

Patrick +

This was a staged photo from last night in Target: "Reaching for the last Kleenex in Chicago." The empty shelves of basic goods were, however, very real. Please contact me if you are in need of some basic household goods. No guarantees, but I'll do whatever I can to try and help.
Here I am earlier today, acquiring some additional technology ... (I felt surprisingly OK, and even a little less suspicious of others, wearing a mask for the first time.) I will continue to keep you posted on developments and hope that the technology will work -- both as it's intended and to strengthen our connections to God, Ascension and one another.
- Fr. Raymond +

PS How could I NOT end with something for St. Paddy's Day ... I have no idea about the actual provenance of the blessing below but gather you all know it.